History has repeated again as most politically prolific district in Himachal Pradesh, Kangra has maintained its tradition of voting against the ruling party. With the results, the anti-incumbency factor weighed heavily yet again in district as it could only secure three out of 15 assembly seats.
If we analyse the results, in the 2012 Himachal assembly elections, BJP has faced biggest defeat in the Kangra district where its most of senior leaders have lost their election to Congress with convincing margin and that too paved way for the Indian National Congress to form the government in the state.
Most of senior leaders and many party workers are openly blaming factionalism for it. Senior leader Shanta Kumar had upper hand in ticket distribution and most of his choice leaders have lost election convincingly. Shanta loyalists had got the BJP ticket from Baijnath, Palampur, Sullah, Dharamsala, Jwalamukhi, Indora, Nurpur, Nagrota Bagwan and Jawali constituencies. All nine candidates lost.
In constituencies like Nurpur, the main contest was between a BJP rebel and the Congress candidate. In Nurpur, Rakesh Pathania was denied the party ticket, allegedly under the influence of Shanta Kumar. The ticket was given to Ranbir Singh Nikka, who could garner only 6,868 votes. Pathania got 23,179 votes, losing to Congress candidate Ajay Mahajan by 3,367 votes.
On the contrary, in Dehra subdivision of Kangra district, which falls in the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency, the BJP won two of the three Assembly constituencies. Irrigation and Public Health Minister Ravinder Ravi won from Dehra and Bikram Thakur from Jaswan-Pragpur. Both are Chief Minister PK Dhumal loyalists.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Dhawala, who was contesting from Jwalamukhi segment, lost to Sanjay Rattan of the Congress by about 4,000 votes. That the BJP erred in choice of candidates is illustrated from the fact that two BJP rebels, Pawan Kajal from Kangra and Manohar Dhiman from Indora, won as Independent candidates.
Minister for Social Security Sarveen Chaudhary won from Shahpur by 3,123 votes. She defeated Vijay Singh Mankotia, who had returned to the Congress just a month before the elections after his patch-up with Virbhadra Singh.
It is speculating that the infighting in the BJP is likely to intensify after the results. Leaders of the Dhumal faction are likely to target Shanta Kumar for wrong ticket allotment that failed ‘Mission Repeat’ of the BJP. Saffron Party has done considerably well in other districts like Sirmour, Mandi, Bilaspur, however only three of the 15 constituencies in Kangra district proved too much for BJP to complete its Mission Repeat in state.